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© Umberto Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art (MOIJA), Photographer: Unknown, 2021

Sheet 3 (text panels 8-10 and final decoration)

Cartouche 15 (upper margin): On the right, Ahasuerus sits on a canopied throne, holding a scepter in one hand and pointing at Mordecai with the other. Mordecai stands before him wearing a turban and an overcoat, bowing slightly before the king (Es. 8:15). In the center part of this cartouche, figures are depicted fighting in a field; two men are lying on the ground. This is surely one of the moments when Jews battle their enemies, but it is difficult to determine which particular verse is illustrated here (Es. 9:5-12). On the left, five men sit around a table laden with food. The scene most likely depicts the happiness of the Jews at the news of the king's new decree (Es. 8:16-17).

Cartouche 16 (lower margin): Several figures are depicted fighting in a field flanked by buildings. Four soldiers holding spears emerge from the left and several bodies already lay on the ground. The scene can depict either the Jews defending themselves against their enemies (Es. 9:5-12) or the additional day of fighting between the Jews and their enemies (Es. 9:15-16).

Cartouche 17 (upper margin): On the right, Ahasuerus sits on the throne under a canopy and holds a scepter. The crowned Esther kneels before him, attended by her two maid-servants; she is likely asking the king to hang Haman's sons (Es. 9:13). On the left, Haman's ten sons are hanging on the same gallows with their hands tied. Two guards, holding spears, stand on either side of the gallows (Es. 9:14).

Cartouche 18 (lower margin): Seven men with turbans on their heads sit around a long table laden with food. Two servants carrying trays go out of the room from both sides (Es. 9:17).

Cartouche 19 (upper margin): On the right, the crowned Esther sits in an armchair at a table and writes the Purim letter. This is witnessed by two men wearing turbans who stand next to the table (Es. 9:29). On the left, two mounted messengers ride towards a city (Es. 9:30).

Cartouche 20 (lower margin): Five men wearing masks and tall pointed hats are dancing in a circle and playing musical instruments. The scene most likely depicts a Purim celebration contemporary to the manuscript's creator.

Final decoration: The symmetrical composition of flowers and tendrils surrounds an empty cartouche.

Name/Title
MOIJA Carmine Gaster I Type Esther Scroll | Unknown
Object Detail
sheet 3 (text panels 8-10)
Settings
Unknown
Date
Second half of the 17th century
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Unknown (Unknown)
Origin
Italy | Veneto | Venice
| (?)
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Unknown |
Congregation
Unknown
Location
Unknown |
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Gaster I scrolls|

The family of Italian Esther scrolls from the second half of the 17th century named by Mendel Metzger after Judaica collector, Moses Gaster (1856–1939), of whose collections an exemplar of this manuscript formed a part (see M. Metzger, “The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth”, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 48:2 (1966), 381‒432, esp. 390). It includes Esther scrolls produced in mixed technique in which decorative border is printed and colored by hand while the Hebrew text of the Book of Esther is penned by a scribe. The opening and final section of the scrolls are precisely filled with a rich decoration formed of tendrils, flowers, and animals (the latter contains no animal figures). The upper and lower margins are adorned with repeating endless knot motifs alternating with cartouches enclosing more than thirty scenes in total that chronicles the Book of Esther. The text panels, in which nineteen text columns are included (in most panels they are grouped in pairs), are interspersed by floral decoration. The same scheme repeats on all three sheets forming each exemplar. Many of decorative elements are common with Klagsbald scrolls.

Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Material/Technique
Ink and paints on parchment (printed border, handwritten text) + wood
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
The scroll: 170x1568 mm.
The length of the sheets in the scroll: 1) 510 mm, 2) 513 mm, 3) 545 mm.

The roller: 525 mm (height).
Height
Length
Width
Depth
Circumference
Thickness
Diameter
Weight
Axis
Panel Measurements
Condition

In general, the manuscript is preserved in good condition, although some slight damages can be seen in it (e.g. in some places, the edges of the membranes are not straight, the coloring on the left margin of the final decoration is damaged).

Some details in the border are poorly printed (e.g. cartouche no. 13).

In many places, the gold paint is not well preserved.

The scroll is mounted on the roller but it is not stitched to it.

Extant
Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
Present Usage Details
Condition of Building Fabric
Architectural Significance type
Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
Urban significance
Significance Rating
Languages of inscription
Unknown
Type of grave
Unknown
0
Ornamentation
Custom
Contents

The Book of Esther in Hebrew

Codicology

The scroll is formed of 3 sheets containing 19 columns of the text with 22 lines each, except for col. 16 which includes 11 lines divided into two half-columns.

The number of columns per sheet: no. 1 - 6, no. 2 - 8, no. 3 - 5.

The text is written in Hebrew square Italian script in black ink on parchment sheets.

The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) are not highlighted in the text. Similarly, no enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 16.

The ruling made with a stylus is slightly visible.

The pricking is invisible.

The sheets in the scroll are stitched together.

Scribes
Script
Number of Lines
Ruling
Pricking
Quires
Catchwords
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Direction/Location
Façade (main)
Endivances
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Coin
Coin Series
Coin Ruler
Coin Year
Denomination
Signature
Colophon

None

Scribal Notes
Watermark
Hallmark
Group
Group
Group
Group
Group
Trade Mark
Binding
Decoration Program
Summary and Remarks

The name "Gaster I" was introduced by Mendel Metzger in his article entitled "The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth" (see "Bibliography"). The type was named after Moses Gaster (1856–1939), the rabbi, scholar, and manuscript collector, who owned a scroll adorned with this pattern (at present this is the scroll Gaster Hebrew MS 710 stored in the John Rylands Library in Manchester - ID 36150). At least 25 manuscripts representing this type are still extant and are preserved in private and institutional collections. For their descriptions see "Related objects".

The pattern features a number of decorative elements common with the scrolls of the Klagsbald type (in the Index see "Klagsbald type Esther scrolls").

It seems the text is written on the hair side of the second membrane; on the two remaining membranes, it is written on their flesh side.

Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance

Donated to the Museum by the Shapira family.

Main Surveys & Excavations
Bibliography

A short description of the scroll is available on https://museums.gov.il/en/items/Pages/ItemCard.aspx?IdItem=ICMS-EIT-0015 (accessed on 28.06.2021).

Selected bibliography concerning other scrolls sharing the same border:

Mendel Metzger, The Earliest Engraved Italian Megilloth, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 1966, 48/2, 381–432.

Cornelia Bodea, Treasures of Jewish Art. The 1673 Illuminated Scroll of Esther Offered to a Romanian Hierarch, Iaşi–Oxford–Palm Beach–Portland 2002.

A Journey through Jewish Worlds: Highlights from the Braginsky Collection of Hebrew Manuscripts and Printed Books, eds. Evelyn M. Cohen, Emile Schrijver, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Amsterdam 2009, 240-241.

Schöne Seiten. Jüdische Schriftkultur aus der Braginsky Collection, eds. Emile Schrijver, Falk Wiesemann, Evelyn M. Cohen, Sharon Liberman Mintz, Menahem Schmeltzer, Zurich 2011, 262-263.

Dagmara Budzioch, The Decorated Esther Scrolls from the Museum of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw and the Tradition of Megillot Esther Decoration in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries – An Outline [Polish: Dekorowane zwoje Estery z Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego w Warszawie na tle tradycji dekorowania megilot Ester w XVII i XVIII wieku. Zarys problematyki], Warsaw 2019, 1:99-119, 2:64-69.

Dagmara Budzioch, "An Illustrated Scroll of Esther from the Collection of the Jewish Historical Institute as an Example of the Gaster I Megilloth," Kwartalnik Historii Żydów 2013, no. 3 (247), 533–547.

Short Name
Full Name
Volume
Page
Type
Documenter
Dagmara Budzioch | 2021
Researcher
Dagmara Budzioch | 2021
Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconstruction
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Section Head
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Language Editor
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Donor
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Negative/Photo. No.
M003169